I could really use some bug spray that actually works. This year, because of a combination of factors, is THE WORST year for mosquitoes. We had a lot of snowfall that insulated the eggs all winter, then the snow melted and we had a very wet month or so where it rained almost every day. There was, and still is, standing water everywhere. Follow all that up with a swing in temperatures from near freezing to 90’s, and it made for the perfect mosquito storm.

Be happy that I could brave it long enough to take some pictures. This is probably all you’ll get for a while – at least until the swarms die down a bit.

Titan sunflowers along the north fence.

Titan sunflowers along the north fence.

Hard to see them, but the onions are doing well.

Hard to see them, but the onions are doing well.

Two types of cauliflower. Both seem to be happy.

Two types of cauliflower. Both seem to be happy.

Broccoli has nice, firm leaves now after a couple rains.

Broccoli has nice, firm leaves now after a couple rains.

Charleston cabbage. My sign didn't fare so well... gotta make a new one there.

Charleston cabbage. My sign didn’t fare so well… gotta make a new one there.

One of the dozen Mammoth Red Rock cabbages.

One of the dozen Mammoth Red Rock cabbages.

Tendercrisp celery.

Tendercrisp celery.

My first little Ping Tung eggplant!

My first little Ping Tung eggplant!

One of several Purple Beauty sweet bell peppers growing. There are at least a hundred peppers in the garden already, and I only put the plants in last week! They lost some foliage in the shock of the transplanting, but there are new leaves coming up where the old ones fell off. They're bouncing back quickly.

One of several Purple Beauty sweet bell peppers growing. There are at least a hundred peppers in the garden already, and I only put the plants in last week! They lost some foliage in the shock of the transplanting, but there are new leaves coming up where the old ones fell off. They’re bouncing back quickly.

200 strawberry plants of four different varieties. I'm already having to pick off flowers! They're taking off considering only a few days ago they were bare roots with no leaves. Also in the background you can see some of the soft fruit patch. Leaves are just starting to emerge on the currants, grapes, elderberries, and gooseberries.

200 strawberry plants of four different varieties. I’m already having to pick off flowers! They’re taking off considering only a few days ago they were bare roots with no leaves. Also in the background you can see some of the soft fruit patch. Leaves are just starting to emerge on the currants, grapes, elderberries, and gooseberries.

It was at this point that I was nearly carried off by the mosquitoes, so I apologize for the quality of the picture. I had wanted to clean up my planting mess before taking pictures, but I'm not quite done yet. Still have a couple more rows to get in.

It was at this point that I was nearly carried off by the mosquitoes, so I apologize for the quality of the picture. I had wanted to clean up my tomato planting mess before taking pictures, but I’m not quite done yet. Still have a couple more rows to get in.

So that’s all for the garden for now. This weekend I hope to finish getting the tomatoes in, then get the rest of the garden rowed up and planted in cucumbers, carrots, corn, squash, melons, pumpkins, peas, beans, and other little seed items. Plus, I still have to till up the grain section and get the grains going. I like to think I’ve been keeping up with weeding, but I’ve grossly neglected the soft fruit area. Yikes! That entire area will be covered with mulch someday soon, I hope. I need to find a source for straw, and to rent a wood chipper. The orchard needs mulching badly, too.

Today is the kids’ last day of school. I’m so nervous about this summer because I never got much feedback from other parents when I tried passing out our phone number to set up play dates. I hope our boys don’t get too lonely this summer. It’s really difficult making new friends and fitting into a new community, especially when it’s so rural that you can’t even see your neighbors, much less any parks or natural congregation points.

Tomorrow is another farmer’s market. I didn’t go to the last one because I didn’t have any plants left to sell. The last few extra herbs I have are finally starting to get big enough to sell, so I’ll bring those tomorrow. I’ve also been spending some time painting up decorative rocks. I made some for myself, and had so much fun with it that I made some up to bring with me to sell. What do you think?

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They’re rocks from our camping adventures and garden. I’m one of those nutty people who keeps a bucket or two specifically for rocks that I’m drawn to. The buckets come with us when we go camping or to the lake. And look – they came in handy. The top picture had some garden markers that I painted up. I use signs on stakes in my garden, but if I had a smaller one I’d probably use these rocks. They turned out really cute. The bottom picture are strawberry rocks. They are to spread in the strawberry patch to deter birds from eating the strawberries. I did really well on the colors – they match real strawberries. The theory is that if you put these out first, the birds will peck them and figure out they’re not edible, so they won’t try again when the real berries come along. We’ll see how they work. I don’t know if I’ll let our strawberries bear fruit this year, but I’ll scatter a few of these rocks through the beds just to see what happens. I made hundreds of these strawberry rocks, so I’ll have some baggies full to sell at the market.  I am looking forward to this market. Should be an easy-going one where I can wander around a bit. I haven’t been able to wander at the last few because my table was so busy.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Go outside, soak up some vitamin D, and get some dirt under your nails!

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